According to the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers South Africa (NAAMSA), sales of secondhand cars have increased steadily in South Africa over the past few years. Considering the high prices of new cars and the fact that more students are looking for their own means of transport, pre-owned vehicles play an important role in the economy.
While secondhand cars are often budget-friendly, some might have mechanical issues and body damage that sellers don’t always disclose. The Automobile Association of South Africa (AA) warns people to be vigilant when buying secondhand cars and with that, let’s take a look at a few handy tips for students and parents looking at buying quality pre-owned vehicles.
Do Thorough Research
Before you jump on the opportunity to buy a car, take a step back and decide whether you really need a car. As a student, if you live close to lectures and your campus has a bus service, buying a car may not be economically smart. If you consider that parking on campus is often restricted, perhaps taking the bus or using Uber may be the better option.
Set An Appropriate Budget
Instead of looking at secondhand cars you really want, rather set a budget and find the best value for money within that price range. Students don’t need a big, expensive car and sometimes a smaller, more fuel-efficient option is best. Remember to include insurance, registration, running costs and servicing into your budget. Don’t let borders stop you either and search for quality pre-owned cars nationally. In many cases, the overall savings could outweigh the transportation costs.
Do A Safety Check
You should never compromise on safety to save a few Rands so make sure to check the brakes, shocks, lights, mirrors and wipers. Set some money aside to replace tyres and wiper blades if necessary and repairing or replacing the windscreen.
Think Reliability And Quality
Considering that many students and their parents are on a budget when buying secondhand cars, colour and looks are not as important as choosing a reliable and quality car. Always check the service history regardless of make and model and remember to question the current owner about any recurring issues. It’s always better to buy from someone you know as they can vouch for the vehicle’s performance.
Irrespective of the type of car, you should do the following when buying pre-owned vehicles:
- Do a full car inspection (exterior, interior, underneath and under the bonnet)
- Look for any signs of body damage which could indicate a previous accident
- Check the available safety features and the safety rating
- Make sure the car is not stolen by checking the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number)
- When buying privately, tell a knowledgeable friend or family member when you are looking at a car so you won’t get taken advantage of
While an expensive sound system and mags often attract student drivers, these added extras are also prone to would-be thieves. Vehicles parked in areas where students usually do are most often more vulnerable to crime and these expensive accessories seriously increase the risk. If the car doesn’t come with an immobiliser or alarm, you should invest in a gear lock or steering wheel lock.
Last but certainly not least, you should aim to buy the best and look for cars that offer good resale value. According to the 2018 Gumtree Pre-Owned Car Awards, the best buys between R130k and R160k include the Volkswagen Take Up! 1.0 3-door, the Tata Bolt 1.2T XMS 5-door, the VW Polo Vivo GP 1.4 Trendline and Toyota Etios 1.5 XS Sprint.
If you’re looking for quality secondhand cars, visit our Group 1 Cars where you can find out more about your favourite car or book a test drive. Be sure to follow our blog to stay updated on all the latest motoring news, road safety tips and more.